In a study presented at the American Academy of Neurology 60th Anniversary Annual Meeting in Chicago, researchers used health records to track nearly 10,000 men and women over more than 40 years. People with total cholesterol levels between 249 and 500 mg/dL (6.4-12.8 mmol/L) in their 40s were 1.5 times more likely to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease than people whose cholesterol was 198 mg/dL (5.1 mmol/dL) or lower. People whose total cholesterol was between 221 and 248 mg/dL (5.7-6.4 mmol/L) were 1.25 times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s. According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, target total cholesterol should be lower than 5.2 mmol/L, with LDL cholesterol lower than 3.5 mmol/L and HDL cholesterol higher than 1.3 mmol/L for women (1.0 mmol/L for men). High cholesterol is also a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke.
If your cholesterol is high (ask your doctor for your numbers), this latest research shows there’s no time like the present to get it in check. And while you’ve probably heard about medications to help, lifestyle changes such as exercising, eating well and quitting smoking are usually the first line of defence. Click here for 10 tips from the Heart and Stroke Foundation for getting your cholesterol in check.